College Basketball: Week 2 mid-major power rankings for 2023-24

Members of the Princeton men's basketball team and their fans celebrate after Princeton defeated Rutgers.
Members of the Princeton men's basketball team and their fans celebrate after Princeton defeated Rutgers. /
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James Madison Basketball
James Madison win. /

Although UCLA is not a mid-major program, let’s examine the yearly mid-major power rankings following the second week of competition in the 2023–2024 campaign.

Many college basketball fans are familiar with the Power Five conference teams in addition to other well-known schools that are not members of those five conferences. Along with the well-known clubs from the Mountain West, Atlantic 10, Big East, and American Athletic conferences, there is Gonzaga from the West Coast Conference.

A larger group of teams from the non-power five conferences that are regarded as high-tier or upper-tier “mid-major” college basketball division one programs, such as UConn, Marquette, and Houston, are represented by basketball programs and the universities they represent.

It is important to examine the changes in program transitions to Division One basketball from the previous season to the current one before delving deeper into the concepts and reasoning behind these Mid-Major rankings. As to the NCAA, 363 Division I teams will be included in the NET rankings, while 352 teams will be qualified for the DI men’s basketball tournament. Because they aren’t eligible for the NCAA tournament, which starts in March 2024, only a very tiny number of clubs that are regarded as mid-major programs might not be included in these power rankings.

A significant distinction between the previous season’s power rankings and the one preceding it is that a few teams, such as FAU, North Texas, and UAB, are no longer eligible for these mid-major power rankings as they were the previous season because they moved from Conference USA to the AAC. In contrast to the 248 teams from the previous season, more than 240 teams are qualified to be listed in these power rankings.

For those who are new or have not been following these specific mid-major power rankings over the previous two seasons, here are some solutions to any questions that may come up while viewing and reading these mid-major college basketball rankings.

Here are some answers to various questions about these specific mid-major rankings.

Why are the majority of the West Coast Conference schools, one independent club, and just 23 conferences represented in these power rankings?

Why are some teams and 23 conferences, out of about 240 plus qualified teams, included in these rankings but not other teams deemed to be mid-majors? The Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, ACC, Pac-12, Big East, AAC, Mountain West, and Atlantic 10 are nine higher profile and financially producing conferences that are not included in these rankings. The most rational and straightforward explanation for their exclusion from these mid-major power rankings is provided below, along with detailed responses and well-considered examples.

The main reason is that the nine conferences listed receive more media attention and coverage than the other 23 conferences, which are more likely to send only one team to the upcoming 2024 NCAA Tournament. Additionally, these conferences have better and more substantial media rights deals than other mid-major conferences. As a result, multiple teams from these conferences will likely receive bids to the NCAA Tournament.

As an illustration, the Big East fielded six teams in the 2022 NCAA tournament, compared to the Mountain West’s four teams. In 2022, two teams from each of the Atlantic 10 and American conferences will compete in the NCAA tournament. Until the 90- or 96-team NCAA tournament is possibly added mid-major power rankings will follow these rules and guidelines in the future when deciding which teams are included in these rankings until the NCAA tournament potentially grows to 90 or 96 teams, or until a conference like the Western Athletic or the Missouri Valley gets multiple teams in the NCAA tournament in consecutive years.

Are the total points scored by each team based on the five rankings below that have been selected for these college basketball power rankings the only factors used to determine these rankings?

No, and since these rankings are based in part on the five ranking systems that will be discussed in these mid-major power rankings, they are primarily determined by teams playing in non-conference play. In these rankings, for instance, defeating a traditional power five conference team away from home carries more weight than, say, a team like James Madison defeating Michigan State and Kent State on the road versus a more recognizable squad like Drake, whose second win came against non-division one opponent Southwest Minnesota State.

The team’s strength of schedule is also important, particularly early in non-conference play when many teams struggle to secure a good victory.

Are these mid-major power rankings debatable and subjective?

Indeed, there are no flawless or perfect power rankings. However, these mid-major power rankings are distinct from other college basketball power rankings because they were developed based on particular and carefully considered criteria. Every year, media members, fans, and alumni of mid-major universities debate and discuss mid-major basketball programs and how well they are doing so far in the season. These rankings for mid-major teams are always tough, challenging, and subject to discussion.